Barnesy says it’s for­ever

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

JIMMY Barnes reck­ons he will never get sick of singing the same hits, night af­ter night.

‘‘Luck­ily for me, Khe Sanh is a great song. There a lot of worse songs that are great hits oth­ers have to keep play­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘I am a mu­sic fan. If I see a band I want to see the songs that I love.’’

The front­man for famed Aus­tralian band Cold Chisel joined the band when he was 16 – ex­actly 40 years ago.

‘‘It has been an amaz­ing jour­ney,’’ says Barnes.

Cold Chisel has re­leased more than a dozen al­bums over the years, fea­tur­ing some of Aus­tralia’s favourite songs – Khe Sanh, Flame Trees and Cheap Wine and Satur­day Night.

Barnes has an equal amount of solo al­bums un­der his belt but at 56, he feels he’s yet to reach his peak.

‘‘I will be play­ing mu­sic for as long as I en­joy it and peo­ple love it,’’ he says.

‘‘I feel now I am singing bet­ter and I have more con­trol with my age and treach­ery. I feel like I am more fo­cused and I have the ben­e­fit of hind­sight and a strong cat­a­logue be­hind me. I want to keep get­ting bet­ter as a per­former. And I want to be a bet­ter hu­man be­ing.’’

Barnes ad­mits that in some ways, age has caught up with him.

‘‘When I was young, I used to drink two bot­tles of vodka a night. Now if I did that the show would suf­fer,’’ he says.

‘‘When I did it in the old days I got away with it. If I dived off stage now I would like look an id­iot.’’

Fo­cused on his singing and per­for­mance, Barnes says his shows are ‘‘more in­tense in a dif­fer­ent way’’.

‘‘I am look­ing for­ward to big­ger and bet­ter things,’’ he says.

‘‘If I keep striv­ing for that, it will keep re­flect­ing in my show. I want to con­nect with the au­di­ence bet­ter. To feel the band. I do that so much bet­ter now.’’

While Barnes’ gritty vo­cals are the driv­ing force be­hind Chisel’s sound, he says it’s the chem­istry be­tween the mem­bers that makes the band work.

‘‘There’s some­thing about the way I sing – I don’t know if they could find an­other singer that could do it,’’ he says.

‘‘It would be dif­fi­cult to find some­one who plays like Ian Moss. The chem­istry be­tween the play­ers is what makes us so unique.’’

Af­ter 40 years of play­ing to­gether, Barnes says Cold Chisel are like fam­ily.

‘‘They are all like my brothers. We fight like brothers and make up like brothers,’’ he says.

‘‘We are fam­ily. Sure we can dis­agree – in the old days it used to be phys­i­cal. It still gets heated. But it’s mostly great.’’

– ROSE SADLEIR

The Red Hot Sum­mer Tour, fea­tur­ing Jimmy Barnes, Baby An­i­mals, Ian Moss, Dragon and Choco­late Starfish, plays Har­ri­gan’s Drift Inn, at Ja­cobs Well, on May 5.

Jimmy Barnes

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